Celebrating 150 years of the miners’ picnic in Northumberland

1950s miners' picnic. Picture by Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn.
1950s miners' picnic. Picture by Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn.

A huge celebration is being lined up to mark the 150th anniversary of the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic.

The first event was reported by our sister paper the Morpeth Herald in 1864 when mining families from across the county turned out at Blyth Links.

And for many years the picnics were held in Morpeth, with Prime Ministers and prominent union leaders in attendance.

In recent years, Woodhorn Museum, near Ashington, has kept the tradition alive with a day of music and dance, while the National Union Of Mineworkers has held a Memorial Service.

This year, both will take place at Woodhorn and Northumberland County Council is joining in to help stage one of the biggest miners’ picnics in years.

Council design and cultural services manager Nigel Walsh said: “This milestone anniversary provides us with a chance to celebrate a true Northumberland tradition.

“We hope that as many people as possible will come and celebrate with us.”

The picnic is one of the oldest workers’ gatherings of its kind in the country and the only interruptions were during wartime, national strikes and the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The picnic will take place on Saturday, June 14. A full programme of events is to be announced and admission will be free.